Just as the commission tasked by President Joe Biden with exploring possible changes to the United States Supreme Court releases a draft report of its deliberations, The Hill has revealed that two of the group’s conservative members have decided to leave the panel.
According to the outlet, the resignations were received from former Clarence Thomas law clerk and current University of Virginia professor Caleb Nelson as well as from former George W. Bush administration official and current Harvard Law School professor Jack Goldsmith.
White House spokesman Andrew Bates spoke to the New York Post about the departures, saying, “These two commissioners have chosen to bring their involvement to a close. We respect their decision and very much appreciate the significant contributions that they made during the last five months in terms of preparing for these deliberations.”
Not much was initially known about the members’ reasons for stepping down, with Nelson merely confirming the news to The Hill and declaring it “an honor” to have served on the commission, and Goldsmith, for his part, not immediately responding to the outlet’s request for comment.
It was back in April that Biden established via executive order the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States, purportedly designed “to provide an analysis of the principal arguments in the contemporary public debate for and against Supreme Court reform,” with topics to include such issues as “the length and service and turnover of justices…the membership and size of the Court,” and more.
On Friday, the committee issued a draft version of its likely recommendations, and according to the Associated Press, the panel appeared hesitant to endorse the sort of court-packing proposals championed by progressives, but did seem open to calling for term limits on those serving on the high court.
Given that the existence of the panel in the first place stemmed from Biden’s desire to placate the far-left wing of his party in their desire to fight back against the conservative tilt at the court during former President Donald Trump’s term in office, the draft report likely came as a bitter – yet somewhat predictable – disappointment to liberals everywhere.
As The Hill further noted, Brian Fallon, executive director of Demand Justice – a progressive advocacy group that has been pushing for the addition of seats on the court – said in response to the draft, “This was not even close to being worth the wait. From the beginning, the purpose of this commission was not to meaningfully confront the partisan capture of the Supreme Court, but rather to buy time for the Biden administration while it fights other legislative battles.”
Fortunately, at least for now, the commission’s observation that any expansion of the court “would reinforce the notion that judges are partisan actors” and weaken the “perception” of judicial independence looks to be winning the day, setting the stage for this far-left power grab’s ultimate defeat.